Become a Mentor

Charlie Classics ReadersThe Charlie Classics Reading Program was created to encourage junior high and senior high students to read great works of literature. To participate in the program, students must choose books from the official Charlie Classics Reading List and will receive credit for reading through a mentoring process. Gift certificates are given as incentives to motivate reading. If students read 100 books by the time they graduate from high school, they receive a scholarship for the college of their choice.

A mentoring system, which involves the whole community, is used to verify that students have read books on the official reading list. Adults who wish to serve as volunteer mentors select the books they wish to mentor. A master list of all mentors, and the books they have selected to mentor, is kept by the classroom teacher. Students make arrangements to meet with the mentor to discuss the books read. The discussion enriches the reader’s understanding of the book, helps foster good role model relationships for young people, and serves to confirm that a student has read the book. Receipts signed by mentors at the end of the book discussion provide a record of books read, facilitate the distribution of incentives, and verify eligibility for scholarship awards.

Reading lists for junior high and senior high have been compiled under the direction of writer and television producer, Linda Bloodworth Thomason, in consultation with the English teachers and librarians of the Poplar Bluff School District in Poplar Bluff, Missouri. The list of classics includes the traditional landmarks of literature, works by Nobel Prize writers, and works reflecting a diversity of experiences. The junior high list includes classics, award winning selections, and high interest books to encourage the reluctant reader.

To encourage summer reading, the program is organized on a calendar year from May 1 to April 30. To begin working toward the goal of reading 100 great books, students are encouraged to read as many classics as possible from the junior high list. Only books marked by an asterisk on the junior high list are considered “classics” which count toward the grand prize scholarship at graduation. However, all books on the list can be read to earn gift certificate incentives.

For more information about special contests and the program, call Linda Surber (785-9838) or email (


The Charlie Classics Reading Program was established by Linda Bloodworth Thomason to honor her grandfather, Charles T. Bloodworth. The program is funded in Poplar Bluff, Missouri, through The Designing Women Foundation, a public, 501(c)(3) non-profit dedicated to the enrichment of youth and women.